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EXCLUSIVE | No money, no idea: SAPS intelligence failed to warn of ‘insurrection’ because of budget crisis

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Police Minister, General Bheki Cele visits Phoenix, following violence that has engulfed the community. (Photo by Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)
Police Minister, General Bheki Cele visits Phoenix, following violence that has engulfed the community. (Photo by Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)

The police's Crime Intelligence (CI) division faces a cash crunch and could not conduct covert operations in the run-up to the wave of unrest, which left 337 people dead and saw rampant looting and vandalism, with losses estimated at more than R50 billion. 

News24 can reveal that, on 8 June, CI top brass circulated a letter that warned of a dangerous cash shortfall because Police Minister Bheki Cele had not endorsed a budget for the Secret Services account. One month later, unrest and a wave of riots and looting, triggered by the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma, crippled KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. An intelligence failure meant cops on the ground were directionless and looters had free reign for days without intervention.  

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